30 years of changing the world: Celebrating the anniversary of the New Warriors

Hear from writers, artists, editors and fans about the impact ‘New Warriors’ has had on them.

Special thanks to Doug Smith, who contributed additional reporting to this post.

Thirty years ago, comic shops were selling the first issue of a brand new comic book series starring a brand new Marvel Comics superhero team. The New Warriors starred a lineup of mostly forgotten and obscure characters by a creative team who had never launched an ongoing series before. Conventional wisdom at the time said the new series would fail. And yet, improbably, New Warriors not only survived, it thrived. At its peak, it was among the top 25 best-selling comics in North America and the United Kingdom.What was it about this underdog series that defied the odds?

Was it the characters? The book starred supporting characters like Namorita from Sub-Mariner and Marvel Boy from The Thing, and stars of previously cancelled comics like Nova and Speedball. Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief at the time, Tom DeFalco, assembled the team. He also included the abandoned co-star of the animated Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends TV show, Firestar, and a new character co-created with Thor artist Ron Frenz, Night Thrasher.

Was it the creators? Writer Fabian Nicieza inherited these characters and immediately embraced them as his own. The first two years of the book was tightly plotted out and featured sharp dialogue, humor, betrayal, adventure and surprise revelations. Artist Mark Bagley, initially inked by Al Williamson and later by Larry Mahlstedt, injected character-driven storytelling with fun action in every issue. After two years, Bagley was moved to Amazing Spider-Man and replaced with Darick Robertson, who brought his own dynamic and expressive storytelling visuals. Even 30 years later, the series is fondly remembered by fans and comic book professionals, even inspiring some of them to become professionals.

We reached out to a number of comic book writers, artists, retailers and others to hear in their own words what made the New Warriors so special to them. We also reached out to Fabian Nicieza and Mark Bagley, as well as the first editor on the series, Danny Fingeroth, and writer Evan Skolnick, who succeeded Nicieza as writer, to get their own thoughts on their time working on this secret classic.

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Fund Me Monday: ‘Trekker,’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and more

Check out new projects from Ron Randall, Birdcage Bottom Books, Ballot Box Comics and more.

As crowdfunding continue to become a viable method for creators to fund their creative endeavors, comic-related projects flourish on sites like Kickstarter, Patreon and IndieGoGo. The internet also allows creators to sell their projects direct to fans, through sites like Gumroad, Etsy and of course their own websites. If you’re looking to buy something from or support a creator directly, you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s a look at a few recent projects that fall into those buckets that caught my eye. Send any suggestions of your own to jkparkin@yahoo.com.

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Help ‘Midnight Tiger’ rise again via Kickstarter

Ray-Anthony Height, Vito Delsante, Éric Van Elslande and Action Lab Entertainment team up for the teenage superhero’s first ongoing series.

Ray-Anthony Height’s Midnight Tiger is looking to make a comeback at Action Lab Entertainment via an ongoing series, and the creator has recruited Stray writer Vito Delsante and artist Éric Van Elslande to help make it happen — and now they’ve turned to Kickstarter to ensure the young hero fights again.

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Comics Lowdown: The future of MAD Magazine

Plus: New superhero universe Catalyst Prime, comics to fight fake news, Jillian Tamaki, Rico Renzi’s color palette, and more!

What’s up with MAD Magazine? Mark Evanier lays out a brief history of MAD, which has been part of DC Comics for a long time (it’s complicated!), and updates us on its current status, which is… not good. Like pretty much all print magazines, MAD has been struggling for a while, although Evanier thinks editor John Ficarra has been doing a bang-up job. When the rest of DC packed up and moved to Burbank, California, a while ago, the MAD staff stayed, but they are moving out of their New York office at the end of this year, and DC has not been forthcoming with any news about what will happen next, beyond the fact that the magazine is moving to Burbank and only one staffer, a production artist, will be going with it. The February 2018 issue will be the last one produced by the Usual Gang of Idiots. DC has not made any announcements about what happens next, but Evanier suggests following the blog of artist Tom Richmond, one of the most frequent contributors to the magazine, for updates.

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Ray-Anthony Height and Vito Delsante reunite for the return of Midnight Tiger

Announced at the recent Long Beach Comic-Con, artist Ray-Anthony Height and writer Vito Delsante revealed that the two will be teaming up to bring back Height’s superhero creation Midnight Tiger. The character’s comic book series was initially self-published before attracting the attention of Action Lab Entertainment, resulting in the publication of three issues in 2014.

Height and Delsante previously worked together on the Actionverse mini-series, which brought together a number of Action Lab’s creator-owned superhero series into one big collaborative story, including Height’s Midnight Tiger and Delsante’s Stray.

I reached out to both creators to find out more about the upcoming return of Midnight Tiger.

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